(Saturday, December 13)
Asked by “Haykakan Zhamanak” about perceived Russian attempts to use Armenia for “bringing Georgia to its knees,” Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian says: “Armenia will never take steps that would damage its interests. Today Georgia’s stability stems from Armenia’s interests. It has a vital significance for us, and we will do everything to ensure that Georgia is stable and peaceful.” On Armenia’s relations with Turkey, Oskanian says that the ongoing efforts to improve them are “quite difficult.” “Nevertheless, we must continue the process and hope that it is really possible to register positive changes because that really stems from our interests,” he says. He adds that Ankara does not link normalization of Turkish-Armenian ties to a Karabakh settlement as tightly as it did in the past.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” claims that the Geneva talks between Ilham Aliev and Robert Kocharian were “undesirable” for the Armenian authorities. The paper says they “were doing everything to postpone the meeting” because the OSCE Minsk Group’s co-chairs have come up with a 20-week plan of achieving a peaceful settlement in Karabakh which Kocharian is reluctant to accept.
“Unfortunately, Armenia and the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic have no clear-cut position on Artsakh’s final status,” political commentator Suren Zolian tells “Hayots Ashkhar.” “Gone are the days when skirting clarity could be beneficial for us. Azerbaijani propaganda is explicit on this issue and has been consistently forming public opinion.”
“Azg” writes that the pre-Christmas period around the world may be one of massive sales discounts. But in Armenia it is a time for wealthy businessman to “enrich themselves as much as possible at the expense of the vast majority of the population.” The paper says the recent rise in bread prices and talk of an impending surge in utility charges has already pushed up the cost of other food products. They have soared by an average of 25 percent, it claims.
“Golos Armenii” attacks the government for “showing weakness” in the lingering dispute with the ArmenTel operator. The paper says the government is doing little to stave off a surge in phone prices planned by ArmenTel.